Friday, October 11, 2019

Spread seeds in October

Believe it or not, October is an excellent time to spread seeds of many plants.
Annuals that reseed themselves, like morning glory, or pansy do well when seeds are dispersed in fall.
Perennial plant seeds benefit from being planted early enough to experience the natural season cycle, which prompts germination.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Wish List

Autumn invigorates me  profoundly, yet in a different way than spring. I am busy each day harvesting plant material, from root to seed and most everything in between. The daily labor intensive task of seed saving awakens a wish for seed sorting trays. The trays would simply matters immensely and save time. Perhaps by next growing season I shall have obtained a set.

I am getting much use out of my thrift store procures dehydrator. I do wish it had a temperature setting, though. Some material requires a lower temperature, lest constituents be lost in the process. Other, denser items, like some roots, do well with a slightly elevated temperature. My dehydrator operates only in 'on' or 'off' options, and I do not know at what temperature it dries. So, on my wish list goes a temperature setting dehydrator.

If dreaming, why not dream big - 

Though for a similar price is this large model:

Perhaps a more realistic option for now, given the cost, is this smaller, plastic tray model.

The final item on todays wish list is a greenhouse for seed starting and plant propagating over the winter. I have dreamed of having a greenhouse of my own for 25 years. Someday, maybe.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

September is for Seed Saving

Each evening I spend time sifting, sorting, labeling, and loving the seeds I saved from the yarden.
Some plants yielded sufficient seed quantity that I am able to offer them for sale. I save ample supply to start plants in spring, for sale and self. After that quantity is set aside, if seed bank remains, I sort it for sale.
Currently I have ample tulsi, larkspur, columbine, marigold (Tagetes sp.), and heirloom red beans for sale. As I continue to process the seed, I hope to have other varieties to announce.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Sunflowers in Septemeber

Yarden goodness shifts in September as summer shifts to autumn, days shorten, and weather is cooler overnight. I feel a renewed call to connect with plant and soil after the hot days of July and August that had me heading into shade to avoid the heat. Noe, the scent of moisture as rains roll through softens the soil and surges final season growth.
I have planted perennial herbs to afford time to root before winter.
I also turn my attention to the sunflower.
The sunflower bed sports sown and self-seeded variety, varying in petal color, scent, inflorescence space, and height. I love them all.
I have let many of the flower heads remain on stalk to shift to seed and feed the local birds. I also, have harvested seed heads to dry and prepare for food for myself and my household.

I have not dried and prepared harvested sunflowers before, so I begin with some research. None of me garden or recipe books discuss sunflowers, so I turn to the wide net of the interwebs.

I visited the American Meadows blog.

Great place to start, and yet I found myself thinking, "what about raw sunflower seeds?" I will roast some, but I would like raw seed too. Also, before I take the suggestions to use, I want to corroborate them with at least two other sources.

Back to research mode for me.

Some sites stated the seeds could be eaten once dried without any treatment, others promote baking seeds before eating, and others recommend soaking in a salt water solution, drying, then either eating or baking.

The University of Illinois Extension website, for example, states that after harvests,  drying, separating from seed head, and cleaning, the seeds may be soaked in a salt water solution over night. The resulting seeds are 'raw' and may be eaten, or you may bake the seeds and use.

In the research quest, I reached the health line webpage about sunflowers. While the webpages does not discuss harvesting and preparing sunflowers for consumption, it does provide a wealth of information about sunflower seeds, so I include it here. The information includes mineral and vitamin content of sunflower seeds, eating raw versus roasted sunflower seeds, and various other excellent and relevant information.

After reading many sources, and reflecting on my prior knowledge and experience, I have concluded that once I remove the sunflower seeds from the seed heads and sift out debris, I will save some for planting next year, soak and dry some to remain raw and roast some, and sprout some to have fresh tender nutrient rich sunflower seed sprouts.  I am exited about having healthy seeds to supplement my diet and support my wellness. Thanks again, plants, you are awesome!

You can visit the provided links for the full discussion, and steps to harvest and prep sunflowers.

Friday, August 23, 2019

I have an idea for next year's garden, inspired by some plants that volunteered to grow in my yarden, probably thanks to the birds.
A stretch of yarden along the sidewalk is featuring unexpected sunflowers and morning glories. The sunflowers are tall, erect on sturdy stiff stems. The morning glories clamor over all the other plants in the space in a haphazard, opportunistic manner. The result is a waterfall of deep purple morning glory glooms cascading over the bright yellow rudbeckia and vibrant yellows of sunflowers.

Next year, I shall plant sunflowers along the eastern edge of my yarden, and morning glories beneath. The east edge is under a sparse branched white pine. The area receives hours and hours of sun, but by August, the plants that grew beneath the pine appear scorched and worn. In spring and early summer, the ground ivy, dandelions, peonies, plantain, and purple dead nettle all fare well. But July and August wears them down quick, which is just the time sunflowers and morning glories begin to com into their own.
So, the succession from one group of plants to the next affords lasting beauty and food for pollinators, and a privacy screen from neighbors.
Yippee! I love it when I observe nature, learn from its wisdom, and am able to support wellness of self and world by replicating what I have learned.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Coffee and community

Yesterday I listened to "Katja's Decaf Herbal Coffee Replacement", a recent episode of Commonwealth Center for Holistic Herbalism podcast. When I listen to their weekly podcast I feel as if I am engaged in an interactive conversation. The content interests me, I learn new information, ideas, and resources, and I laugh along with the hosts as a response to their friendly and inclusive style.
The Herbal Coffee Replacement episode stimulated my curiosity about coffee processing. I tend to not drink coffee, unless I am using the caffeine as a method of soothing and managing migraine pain. I miss the robust flavor and subtle bite of strong, well-made coffee. So, when Ryn introduced Swiss Water processing to create decaf coffee, my ears perked. I did some follow-up research this morning to learn more.
I visited the Swiss Water Coffee website. I was impressed with the apparent attention to detail and care about the coffee from farm to cup, and all the steps in between.
Consumption of goods involves much critical thinking and care choosing. Or, at least, I think it should. I try to consider the origin of any item, and its related packaging. I think about how the item was created or prepared, how it travelled, who was involved in each step of the journey, and how the people involved were treated. I cannot always know the details, sometimes from lack of transparency, sometimes from lack of research on my part. Nonetheless, I strive to make informed choices, and for my choices to reflect my values and honor the beings involved.
Back to coffee, I buy organic, fair-trade, shade grown coffee. The farming practices, the philosophy behind those practices and the consideration of fairness in respect to the grower are important to me. Additionally, the protection of habitats matters to me. What I see of their company aligns with my preferences.
I Amy purchase some Swiss Water process decaf coffee, and see what I think.
I also will use it to make an herbal coffee blend, featuring some medicinal mushrooms and adaptogenic plant roots.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Resilience is like....

A bank of tulsi in bloom and going to seed. 

Feeling resilient and persistent this morning. 
Calendula bloom
I awoke early and feeling wonky and unwell. Despite the physical discomfort and emotional weight of dreams of loss and fear, I chose positive attitude anyway.  The choice an accomplishment, for I so easily succumb to pain, allowing the physical sensitivity to subjugate emotional well-being. My work with nervous system supporting catnip and tulsi are supporting not only nervous system function, but also emotional wellness. Persistence. 

Pollinator on tulsi 
I moved slowly and steadily, with patience and compassion for self, through morning rituals: ablutions, tea making, animal tending, and the like. Centering myself with intention for each act. After a cup of lavender  catnip, jasmine green tea I reflected on my morning yoga. I chose, in the face of preference not to, to complete my yoga routine. As I stood facing the morning sun in the clear eastern sky, I thought about circulation and moving lymph as I moved through postures. Noticing the oak tree solid and simultaneously fluid in the wind, I thought’ about accepting emotion and self as I moved through the breath. 
Stretched and alert, I then felt well enough to walk the garden. I made a morning harvest of the bounty offered by tulsi and calendula. Conversed with the chamomile, whose leaves and flowers are still damp; therefore not suited to harvest for drying. I will revisit later, today maybe, or tomorrow, and harvest blooms. Chamomile does so much to support wellness. 

Chamomile blooms
I check in with myself, and acknowledge that today will be a day of little physical exertion, for my strength is low and my pain is high, yet I shall have a day of gratitude and creativity. I am proud that I am able to frame the day with positivity, possibility, acceptance, and wellness.

Spread seeds in October

Believe it or not, October is an excellent time to spread seeds of many plants. Annuals that reseed themselves, like morning glory, or pans...